Celebrated Actor Joe Mantegna Responds to Real-Life Kidnap Victim Who Channeled his Agent Rossi from “Criminal Minds”

Celebrated Actor Joe Mantegna Responds to Real-Life Kidnap Victim Who Channeled his Agent Rossi from “Criminal Minds”

Celebrated Actor Joe Mantegna Responds to Real-Life Kidnap Victim Who Channeled his Agent Rossi from “Criminal Minds”

Real Life. Mirrors. Art.

When distinguished Broadway/movie/television actor Joe Mantegna heard of how a real kidnap victim channeled his iconic Criminal Minds TV character, Agent David Rossi, to help him survive and eventually escape, the actor was humbly moved. Mantegna suggests that the abductee’s story and release actually turned out to be a “wonderful gift.”

Mantegna’s FBI Agent Rossi has led the investigative team on the Criminal Minds TV series for 15 seasons, from 2007 to today. Evergreen Mantegna, who has over 50 years performing in the entertainment business, reacted positively to the BBN Times story, Channeling Actor Joe Mantegna's Agent Rossi on TV’s “Criminal Minds” Helped Save a Real Kidnap Victim.

Indeed, the BBN Times story which went viral, told how over the course of 56 harrowing hours, Mr. X relied on his instinct, intelligence and understanding of human nature, along with one other constant—imagining and asking himself, What would FBI Agent David Rossi do?

From the BBN story, and like Agent Rossi, Mr. X figured it would help if he could think like his abductors, explaining: “I also tried to channel Agent Rossi’s analysis of my kidnappers’ mindset. Rossi often asks, What did they really want? Who was on the other side of the calls—that is, who was the kingpin, the head of the beast? Also, what would I say to create doubt amongst them? Could I turn them against each other, which Rossi often does? He gets into the minds of his adversaries. But always remain calm. So, I focused on trying hard not to show fear, even if I did panic momentarily, or it would’ve been curtains for me. In fact, I even turned the tables on them, staying calm when they pointed a gun in my face—I responded with defiance and a little laugh, which kind of freaked them out and drove them batshit crazy.”

Independently but coincidentally, Mantegna’s Agent Rossi was himself abducted by a villain during the last two episodes of the just concluded season run of Criminal Minds: Evolution. But, Agent Rossi “MacGyver-ed” his way out of his own abduction.


Mantegna, who earned his professional acting debut in the Chicago production of Hair in 1969 and subsequently worked with Oscar-winners like director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather Part III), and writer/director Steve Zaillian (Searching for Bob Fischer), says of the kidnap victim’s harrowing real story: “You cannot make this stuff up. So, I shared the journalist’s story with our entire Criminal Minds cast, and everyone was knocked out by it. They were unbelievably moved, thinking, Oh my god, what a story.”

Criminal Minds has been a worldwide success. The series became a ratings hit for CBS, regularly featuring as one of the network's most-watched shows throughout its 15-year-long run. Its success has spawned a media franchise, with several spinoffs, including a South Korean adaptation and a video game. It has earned Emmy nominations, and a People’s Choice Award for Favorite TV Crime Drama, along with winning several Image awards, and “Top TV Series” at several ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards.

Mantegna continues, “Our Criminal Minds’ fans are very passionate, but maybe we kind of take it for granted, when you see that your work actually can make a difference in somebody’s life. We’ve had cases of people saying because of this or that episode, it had an effect on their life. But nothing as dramatic as Mr. X and his published story. I’ve been doing this job for over 50 years, but to get a compliment like that about a character I have played, and having such an important impact on someone’s life, I mean, it’s a wonderful gift. Something very special in my entire career.”

All’s well that ends well. This journalist’s own associate Mr. X, who was the one kidnapped, is now safe back at home, and wonderful Joe Mantegna even reached out to him to thank him for his “gift.”


Criminal Minds: Evolution goes back into production for a new season in April. Check out all episodes on Paramount+ — and, drop in on Joe Mantegna’s website. Also, watch as Rossi escapes his own abductor and is rescued—“Never stop fighting…”

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  • Peter Stevens

    Criminal Minds did a fantastic job with each of its hundred marking episodes.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Peter Stevens

    Tx, for commenting, Peter. How many of the episodes do you think you've watched, as they're all now on Paramount Plus, including CM: Evolution, over here in US. Cheers/Ashley

  • Mike P

    I will never understand the mindset of kidnappers...

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Mike P

    Plain and simple, Mike—greed and no understanding of the golden rule. Tx, for commenting.

  • Zachary Anderson

    Criminal Minds was my favorite series when I was a student !!

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Zachary Anderson

    What about the series intrigued you, Zach? All episodes are now on Paramount Plus, including CM: Evolution, if you can get it. Thanks for commenting. Ashley

  • David Yates

    I just want this show to return !!!

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: David Yates

    Dave, were you able to view Criminal Minds: Evolution? Another season will start shooting in April, and all episodes are now on Paramount Plus, including CM: Evolution. Thanks for commenting. Cheers/Ashley

  • Chris Bruce

    Actually rewatching some previous episodes with my partner ! Missed this show so much !

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Chris Bruce

    Chris, CM: Evolution's 10 episodes just aired here in US on Paramount Plus, all the other episodes are there to, so you and your partner can binge. Cheers/Ashley

  • Alexander Galbraith

    The trailer looks so good ! I'm actually excited about this reboot.

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Alexander Galbraith

    Alex, Agent Rossi gets into a spot of bother in the last two episodes of CM: Evolution, check it out on Paramount Plus—luckily, I only pay $5/mo for it. Thanks for commenting. Cheers/Ashley

  • Stuart O'Mahon

    Joe is an iconic actor. This is going to be epic! So excited! I am hyped !

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Stuart O'Mahon

    Stu, did you see him in The Godfather, House of Games and Searching for Bobby Fischer? His CM character Agent Rossi gets into a pickle in this new season. Cheers/Ashley

  • Aaron Lowe

    So excited but really wish we had at least Thomas Gibson, Matthew or Shemar Moore in it! I know I'm gonna hate it when it ends again ! Can't wait for new episodes ! Reid you will be missed !

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Aaron Lowe

    Well, Joe's Agent Rossi is back with revamped team. Enjoy. Cheers/Ashley

  • Jade Howard

    CRIMINAL MINDS has been on my list of SHOWS to BINGE and this just MOTIVATED me to start watching it ASAP

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Jade Howard

    Way to go, Jade, binge away! It's a lot of fun. Cheers/Ashley

  • Lucy Moore

    Mr. X is a real life hero !

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Lucy Moore

    Thanks, Lucy, he's a pal of mine and was grateful to read your comment. It was even scarier than I wrote, as we had to cover many facts, for legal reasons. Cheers/Ashley

  • Robert Hughes

    Fascinating read

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Robert Hughes

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Robert. Always appreciate the kind words. Cheers/Ashley

  • Tom Ward

    Ain't gonna lie..... I've got goosebumps.... bring it on.....

  • ashley collie

    In reply to: Tom Ward

    Thanks for commenting and reading, Tom, hope you enjoy what you view. Joe will be happy. Cheers/Ashley

  • ashley collie

    BTW, Joe Mantegna and Mr. X both humbly appreciate all the readers' comments, and for watching the show. Cheers/Ashley

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Ashley Jude Collie

Entertainment Expert

Ashley is an award-winning journalist/author/blogger who has written for Playboy, Toronto Star, Movie Entertainment, Sports Illustrated, Maclean's and others. He's interviewed various "leaders" in their fields, including: Oscar winners (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander, Jane Fonda, Mira Sorvino, Geena Davis, Anthony Hopkins); Grammy winners (Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Ice Cube, Pete Townshend); MVPs in sports (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant); and, business leaders (Amazon's Jeff Bezos). He has an upcoming novel, REJEX, coming out on Pulp Hero Press. And he has written several episodic TV shows, appeared on CNN, and blogged for Mademan, Medium, GritDaily and HuffPost.

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